Sun, 11 Apr 2021

What Russia was like in 1941

RBTH
04 Mar 2021, 21:55 GMT+10

What this year meant for Russian history, what people looked like and what was happening on the cities' streets in the first year of World War II in the USSR.

Stalin's regime was at its peak: industrialization was in full swing, new megafactories were constantly appearing and peasants were working hard on collective farms. At the same time, a big purge that started in the late 1930s was in force and people kept finding themselves in prisons and labor camps.

But on June 22, 1941, the whole Soviet history was literally split into before and after, with World War II reaching the Eastern Front and threatening both Moscow and St. Petersburg. Former kids and students lined up to become volunteers at the frontline, girls took rifles in their arms and went to the factories to produce weapons. Citizens were evacuated, while their homes were destroyed...

1. Pioneers on the eve of the war

Yevgeny Khaldei/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

2. Soviet eco habits: pioneers collecting scrap metal for recycling

Sergei Vasin/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

3. "Tomorrow began the war..."

Vsevolod Tarasevich/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

4. A kindergarten of a 'Red Proletarian' factory

Unknown author/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

5. School kids attending Labor Day demonstrations in May

G.Yefomovsky/Cherepovets Museum Association

6. Future pilots

G.Yefomovsky/Cherepovets Museum Association

7. A female tractor driver working in a village

Unknown author/Murom arts and history museum

8. Tourists trekking in the Caucasian mountains

Viktor Ruikovich/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

9. Russian pilots setting off to fight for their native fields

Ivan Shagin/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

10. The first days of Nazi occupation in the town of Nevel, Pskov Region, western Russia

Dmitry Drozdetsky archive/russiainphoto.ru

11. Pyotr Tchaikovsky museum's artifacts after the Nazis "visit"

Ivan Shagin/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

12. Soldiers waiting in Leningrad's trenches before the attack

Vsevolod Tarasevich/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

13. Moscow during WWII: An aerostat right next to the Bolshoi Theater

Naum Granovsky/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

14. Mayakovskaya station of Moscow metro as a bomb shelter in 1941

Arkady Shaikhet/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

15. A woman preparing missiles for the Red Army

Ivan Shagin/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

16. Missile defense unit scouting on a Moscow rooftop

Oleg KnorringMAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

17. Famous Soviet writers Mikhail Sholokhov and Alexander Fadeyev on the frontlines

Georgy Petrusov/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

18. A street in Moscow during the war

Boris Vdovenko/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

19. Off to defend Moscow!

Arkady Shaikhet/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

20. Soldiers marching on the Northern Front

Yevgeny Khaldei/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

21. A downed Nazi aircraft in central Moscow

Emmanuil Yevzerikhin/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

22. A square in Moscow during the war

Alexander Ustinov/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

23. Girls assembling the PPSh-41, a Soviet submachine gun designed by Georgy Shpagin, which saw intensive use during WWII

Emmanuil Yevzerikhin/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

24. Girls camouflaging an aircraft

Emmanuil Yevzerikhin/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

25. Leningrad, Winter palace. Peasants evacuating cattle from the frontlines

Nikolai Khandogin/private collection

26. Swan Lake being performed in the evacuated Bolshoi Theater

Ivan Shagin/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

27. Soldiers on horseback outside Moscow

Arkady Shaikhet/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

28. Despite the war, November 7, 1941, marked the 24th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution with a parade on the Red Square

Unknown author/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

29. Muscovites donating things to the army

Arkady Shaikhet/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

30. 'Aero sleds' outside Moscow

Arkady Shaikhet/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

31. Leningrad, Nevsky Prospekt. A destroyed building after a Nazi air raid

Boris Kudoyarov/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

32. Schoolgirls practising extinguishing incendiary bombs

Sergei Vasin/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

33. A soldier poses with a downed Nazi plane

Pavel Troshkin/Izvestia newspaper

34. New Jerusalem Monastery not far from Moscow after it was seriously damaged by the Nazis

Ivan Shagin/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

35. Military dogs in action in the Arctic

Yevgeny Khaldei/MAMM/MDF/russiainphoto.ru

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